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A Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros
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Gift of J. Paul Getty
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Adolphe William Bouguereau
French, about 1880
Oil on canvas
31 1/4 x 21 5/8 in.
70.PA.3

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A young nude woman sits with her arms outstretched, pushing away a winged boy. He is Cupid, the god of love, holding up an arrow to pierce her. The title suggests that the young woman is trying to defend herself, yet she smiles and struggles unconvincingly against the mischievous little god.

Visitors to the Paris exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s loved Adolphe Bougereau's paintings. The Getty Museum's painting repeats a larger composition that Bougereau made for the Paris Salon in 1880; a viewer probably saw the larger version there and requested a smaller one for private viewing.

Bougereau placed his mythological fantasy in an idyllic, Arcadia-like landscape. In fact, he made this composition in his studio, copying the landscape from the neighboring French countryside and using one of his favorite models.

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